A recent study by IDG found that enterprise investment in cloud computing has increased 19% since 2012. This month’s panel of experts share their thoughts on the cloud and why resellers should be actively promoting cloud applications as part of a wider solutions offering.
How do you define cloud printing?
Eddie Ginja, Head of Strategic Initiatives and Innovation, KYOCERA Document Solutions: “Cloud printing is using servers and/or solutions that are not hosted at a customer’s site. There are two basic flavours of cloud printing – public cloud printing, using Google Print for example, and private cloud, which is a unique KYOCERA offer (see below). Our offer is aimed at private enterprise cloud printing services.”
Andy Johnson, Head of Product Management, Brother UK: “We define cloud printing as having the ability to connect to a printing device via the cloud to print out a hard copy.”
Jason Cort, Director of Product Planning and Marketing, Sharp Europe: “Cloud print and mobile print are almost indistinguishable.
“Where a document is held on a cloud resource, the printing will be handled via the device in use (smartphone, tablet or laptop PC). That device must fid a printer and then submit a print job. Normally, this would involve sending the job to a network print queue or direct to a printer.
“With mobile print, the job passes via a web-based facility before being delivered to the printer, and in some cases can be received by the printer over its own Wi-Fi hotspot. Products that provide this include Everyone Print, PaperCut, YSoft SafeQ and Sharpdesk Mobile, while Apple AirPrint and Google Cloud Print further facilitate printing.”
Mark Robinson, Market Business Developer, Canon: “Cloud printing is a technology that connects printers to the web. Employees can print documents directly to their office printer from the applications they use every day, so that they’ll be waiting for them upon arrival or held within a secure print management solution for sensitive information. And, because cloud printing works over the web, employees can just as easily print from the same room as their printer or from any internet-enabled device on their commute.
“In addition, cloud printing allows organisations to share office printers with people they trust as easily as they might share an update on their Facebook page. It is perfect for visiting guests looking to print, and organisations can easily provide access to various printers across different locations and offices.”
Donna Marley, Channel, GM UK & Ireland, Xerox: “In basic terms, cloud printing is the ability to access and print documents from a hosted service ‘Cloud’ that generally sits on an external network outside the customer’s individual network.
“There are many ways to offer cloud printing depending on individual customer requirements. Simple and direct access can be achieved where a device is able to reach a cloud service directly, such as Google Cloud Print. This often has very limited capability but enough for those that just need a simple page printed.
“App-based solutions that sit on a smartphone or tablet can act as the conduit between a device and cloud service and allow for more functionality and added security. Xerox Mobile Print Cloud is a great example, as it offers multiple print workflows, true Microsoft Office document rendering and completely controllable security, ensuring only authorised people are able to use the printer.”
Wayne Snell, Product Manager, DSales (UK): “The ability to connect MFP devices to the web, so that mobile office workers can access their cloud account to print
emails or documents stored remotely via their tablets and smartphones, thereby removing the need to use a PC to create, access or print documents.”
Why should resellers embrace cloud print solutions?
Eddie Ginja: “There are a number of reasons why resellers should embrace cloud solutions. Firstly, customers are asking for these types of solution and offering them enables resellers to differentiate themselves from other dealers. It is also an extra revenue generator for them – selling extra/more solutions on the back of cloud.
“Cloud solutions liberate IT resources whilst rationalising server hardware and improving reliability, as the cloud by its very nature is resilient and backed up. Cloud is scalable and more agile than traditional printing. It reduces costs by enhancing the Opex model over a traditional Capex financial model, optimises document intensive business processes and deploys new innovations like cloud scanning and mobile printing.”
Andy Johnson: “In a recent study, IDC found that the mobile workforce in Western Europe will grow from 96 million workers in 2014 to 143 million workers by 2018, representing a 7% increase. That means 75% of the total Western European workforce will be mobile. The UK is actually ahead of the game when it comes to mobile working; it’s estimated that 82% of the UK workforce will be mobile by 2018 (about 27 million people).
out 27 million people). “The above shows the scale of the opportunity, but it’s also a value-add. If a business is thinking of implementing this way of working, then a reseller could help future proof their technology by upselling them to a cloud-connected device.”
Jason Cort: “Cloud print is an obvious extension of the trends today for increased
mobile working, expected by Generation Cloud. It is driven by customer demand and the tendency towards BYOD. However, our view is that the major driver is convenience due to ease of use and ready access to documents, especially ones actually stored in the cloud or on mobile devices.”
Mark Robinson: “A recent Canon study across more than 1,000 small businesses highlighted that a third of UK owners have an appetite for cloud-based printing, and almost half would like additional mobile solutions for printing. This shows that selling cloud printing to smaller businesses can open up huge revenue opportunities for resellers.
“The proliferation of mobile-friendly websites, the digital app landscape and the preferred consumption of content through mobile devices have changed the way people work and no reseller can afford to ignore this trend.
“Helping organisations to become mobile-ready is a big revenue opportunity that also positions resellers as trusted partners that understand business challenges and can help overcome them. When it comes to cloud printing, their remit could stretch from implementing simple, out-of-the-box cloud printing hardware and software, to the development of dedicated cloud printing apps for smartphones and tablets, and sophisticated print security and document management services, which allow employees and guests to capture, edit, manage and share critical information through their mobile devices.”
Donna Marley: “In some cases it will add value to the sale or help protect against margin erosion on the hardware, and in others it can create new revenue streams for the partner in much the same way as a Service Contract (Xerox PagePack for example). So yes, resellers should embrace not only cloud print solutions but also the multitude of other cloud-based solutions out there. The business world is fast adopting many of these to move forward and is willing to listen to any partner that can make that transition seamless.”
Wayne Snell: “With smartphones edging ahead of laptops for the first time as the preferred devices for connecting online, office devices that support printing from mobile devices and offer the ability to print documents from the web via cloud servers will be more attractive to an increasingly mobile workforce.”
How can dealers promote cloud solutions to their customers?
Eddie Ginja: “Resellers are starting to promote this service as part of their portfolio. We are assisting them by rebranding our collateral, including a video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQxNDv7IzNE. Over and above this, we are supporting their sales staff in training and on specific end-customer meetings.”
Andy Johnson: “Educating the customer is key, explaining about cloud printing, how easy it is and how it will streamline processes and contribute to efficiency and productivity. It’s all about the questions you ask. A simple one is simply to say: ‘Would it be helpful if you could print whilst on the move?’.”
Jason Cort: “Cloud print solutions take a number of forms, but one area to address might be to allay customer fears about the security of placing documents in the cloud and how easy it is to work with those documents today. Examples of this could be Google Docs, MSOffie 365, Box. net and many others. A useful comparison can be drawn when considering the risks and costs to a business of keeping all information on local servers/PCs contrasted with using hardened and reliable cloud services provided under strong SLAs.”
Mark Robinson: “The widespread adoption of mobile devices for work is sometimes said to have led to a 24-hour working culture that is compromising our work-life balance. However, resellers can argue that some of the most productive work happens on mobiles away from the distractions of meetings and interruptions by co-workers.
“Executives might feel their best work is done from 7 to 8 a.m. during their daily commute. Employees might feel that the ability to work remotely actually helps them juggle work with family life, as they can leave work early and catch up on work tasks later. Cloud printing apps give users the flexibility to process business documents directly from a mobile device when they can be most productive, whether at home, on the go, or in the offie. They are a real productivity driver.”
Donna Marley: “We offer our partners many different tools to help promote our products and solutions, from documentation explaining current market drivers to customer case studies. Additionally, we provide event builder and marketing toolkits so they can invite their customers to demonstrations in their showrooms or virtually, including hosting webinars or online training, to ensure they fully understand the solutions on offer. We are also just about to launch an easy to use interactive tool to illustrate customer challenges and how certain solutions can add value, fi problems and/or improve a sale.”
Wayne Snell: “Our reseller partners can easily demonstrate to customers how simply we can ‘connect’ to this cloud world. Using the web browser option installed in the ineo device, end users can gain access to our connector shop – dStore – to download the connector of choice directly to the MFP. A wealth of information is available for our ineo Connector Apps via our web site. There are also brochures for our reseller partners to utilise for local promotion.”
Briefly summarise your cloud offer.
Eddie Ginja: “Our cloud offer has been live in the UK since January 2015. We are launching this in Europe starting September 2015.
“In summary, cloud printing technology is really clever, but the way it works is brilliantly simple. In basic terms, it is an outsourcing strategy for the processing, routing and management of all print traffic.
“Users simply click print to send the document to a cloud-attached printer at a location they choose. The data is securely routed through a proprietary network and can be released at any device using authentication policies specified by the enterprise.
“One key advantage of cloud printing is it is virtual and so eliminates the cost and complexity of buying, managing and housing print servers. It’s also fully scalable. Reshaping the fleet configuration or ramping up print server capacity to support peak loads, for example, is quick and easy. Hosted cloud solutions remove the requirement for contingency storage for print traffic, enabling enterprises to reduce server capacity, free up IT budget and rack space. “Cloud printing also helps support the practical, reliable and secure introduction of new working practices such as mobility and off-premise printing, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies, cloud scanning workflows and data storage platforms.”
Jason Cort: “Sharp has a comprehensive cloud and cloud print offering and uniquely offers its own cloud-based fie sharing and collaboration environment called Cloud Portal Offie. Many Sharp MFP ranges support AirPrint and provide their own WiFi hotspot for direct print applications. The free Sharpdesk mobile app for phones and tablets provides ‘Print from’ and ‘Scan to’ mobile capabilities.
“Sharp also offers a wide selection of third-party software to complement its MFP ranges, which support mobile and pull print (sometime called secure print) functions. These allow users to submit print jobs from devices not connected to the corporate or university network for printing on any convenient connected printer. Examples of these would be PaperCut, YSoft SafeQ and Everyone Print.”
Mark Robinson: “At Canon, we recognised the changes in the way people work early and have constantly added new features to our products and solutions that make it easier for our customers to do their jobs.
“For example, our MAXIFY inkjet and i-SENSYS laser ranges for home, small and medium-sized businesses come with a variety of mobile and cloud printing capabilities as standard. Users enjoy the freedom of printing anywhere over the internet from cloud services, such as Evernote, Dropbox, OneDrive and Google Drive; from the printer screen; or remotely from their mobile phone or tablet using he Canon PRINT app. And it also works the other way around, as they can scan documents to cloud services, too.”
Donna Marley: “The foundation of the cloud is virtualised servers providing needs like computing power, network, bandwidth or storage. Xerox delivers cloud solutions within a three-tier stack, which focuses on infrastructure, platform and software. This offer includes:
Software as a Service – the layer that provides people with software apps suited specifically to them. Workflow on Demand – a collection of SaaS solutions that simplify work in business, including aspects of mobile and document scanning.
Platform as a Service is included within the cloud offer, providing tools for security (authorisation and authentication); e-commerce; and interoperability. Xerox solutions are built on cloud-ready platforms with SDKs and APIs that enable our software developers, our cloud consortium and business innovation partners to produce a steady stream of innovative solutions.
Infrastructure as a Service. Xerox and our partners provide a full range of state-of-the-art cloud infrastructure services.
Wayne Snell: “Develop has developed a series of MFPs designed for simple mobile and cloud integration. It’s not about adding value, it’s about getting connected and integrating with today’s mobile and cloud work practices. “Different apps are also available. Specifically designed for Google Apps, Evernote and SharePoint, they facilitate and simplify cloud-device integration so that ineo MFPs seamlessly connect to the respective cloud service. Customers can then print documents direct from their user’s cloud account and scan documents to their cloud account too. Connection to cloudbased functions is easily done straight from the operating touch panel of the ineo MFP.”
Are your partners seeing success with it?
Eddie Ginja: “Yes, but slowly. It is taking time for some partners to get their head around this new type of solution/service. That said, the ones that have embraced this have seen good success with cloud printing – for them and their customers.”
Andy Johnson: “Some more than others. Those that have seen the opportunity are busy changing their sales proposition from speeds and feeds to the extended functionality of cloud printing, mobile working and convenience. They are seeing their average selling prices increase.”
Donna Marley: “Yes, they’re seeing success and transforming their business. A great example is a reseller in the UK who went from being a company that only deals with others within the UK to an organisation supporting a global implementation of Xerox Mobile Print Cloud. Unbelievably, the original conversation started with the customer enquiring about a single printer, costing a few hundred pounds. Talking about cloud capabilities can take the client conversation in a new, more profitable direction.”
Wayne Snell: “Develop devices have offered web access for some time and, with the recent introduction of the dStore application gateway, users now have the ability to install direct access to the most popular cloud servers. Feedback from authorised Develop dealers has been very positive and many are rolling out the dStore access to their user base as a mobile document workflow benefit to the already advanced offering of the Develop ineo range.”